FMA Communications Inc.

Tim Heston

Senior Editor
FMA Communications Inc.
2135 Point Blvd
Elgin, IL 60123

Blog Posts

The future of the laser in metal fabrication

November 12, 2013 | By Tim Heston

This time next week I’ll be walking the floor at McCormick Place, seeing what’s new, what’s unusual, and perhaps a little about what the future holds in metal fabrication. Even after years covering FABTECH®, I feel like a kid at a candy store. Sometimes I think about what the industry will...

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The potential of collaborative manufacturing - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

The potential of collaborative manufacturing

November 6, 2013 | By Tim Heston

As globalization took hold in recent decades, Tony Chirchirillo was keenly aware of how many viewed manufacturing. He decided to change that perception in an unconventional way—by forming a network of noncompeting, complementary companies.

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A metal fabricator’s quiet transition - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

A metal fabricator’s quiet transition

November 6, 2013 | By Tim Heston

The management buyout of the Schott metal fabrication division was, for many employees, a quiet affair. But transitioning to become an independent enterprise did call for major changes behind the scenes.

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Going cellular: A year later - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

How cellular manufacturing can work in contract manufacturing

November 5, 2013 | By Tim Heston

For the past year one contract fabricator in Georgia has operated under the cellular manufacturing concept. Even in the shop’s high-product-mix environment, the concept is working—even thriving.

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Blog Posts

How lean manufacturing makes labor more valuable

October 29, 2013 | By Tim Heston

Last week I flew to Chicago to attend LeanFab Workshop & Tours, a continuous improvement event devoted to the metal fabrication business, organized by the Fabricators & Manufacturers Association International. Dick Kallage of Barrington, Ill.-based KDC & Associates (and monthly...

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Blog Posts

Sausage-making at its best and worst

October 15, 2013 | By Tim Heston

When it comes to government, I don’t particularly want to know about the sausage-making—the bargaining, arguing, and deals made (and now almost always required) to get anything accomplished. I know reading about it would just infuriate me, because inside the beltway, at least, it seems that...

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How top performing metal fabricators get it done - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

How top performing metal fabricators get it done

October 9, 2013 | By Tim Heston

FMA’s recently released Financial Ratios & Operational Benchmarking Survey digs deep into the numbers. The results give a realistic view of the industry and reveal how successful its top performers can be.

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Roll form and shine bright - TheFabricator.com

Roll Forming | Articles | The FABRICATOR

Roll form and shine bright

October 9, 2013 | By Tim Heston

As revenue tumbled nearly 80 percent during the downturn, OMCO’s sales team searched for new markets that could carry them through the tough times and beyond. Ultimately, they found a sector that grew faster than anyone expected. They found solar.

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No-nonsense lean at Micron Metalworks - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

No-nonsense lean at Micron Metalworks

October 9, 2013 | By Tim Heston

This Minnesota fabricator took a pragmatic approach to lean manufacturing, one that takes the challenges of the job shop into account. Employees focused on communication, organization, and simplicity. The result was an operational and, most important, cultural transformation.

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Blog Posts

The virtues of paying your debts

October 8, 2013 | By Tim Heston

Whenever I think of the debt ceiling, I think of Vivek Gupta, managing director of Texas ProFab in Carrollton, Texas. In 2008—back when we were all debating whether we were really heading into a full blown recession (how quaint)—he told me that he not only pays the fabricator’s bills on...

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How one fabricator doubled revenue over 12 months - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

How one fabricator doubled revenue over 12 months

October 7, 2013 | By Tim Heston

Manufacturing boils down to three principal services: design and engineering, prototyping, and production. One Georgia fabricator has evolved to offer all three.

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Blog Posts

Continuous improvement is forever

September 26, 2013 | By Tim Heston

When it comes to a lot of things about the economy, I’m a glass half-empty kind of guy. Will the government shut down soon because of the mess inside the beltway? Yeah, probably. The jobless rates are down this week! Yeah, we’ll see how long that lasts. Five years after the financial crisis and...

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Blog Posts

Five Septembers ago: Metal fabrication and the financial crisis

September 17, 2013 | By Tim Heston

In hindsight, it’s ironic. It was early September 2008, and FABTECH was set to open in Las Vegas in a few weeks. Up until that point a hot bed of growth, especially in real estate. But then Lehman Brothers declared bankruptcy. Still, even a few weeks into the crisis, the metal fabrication...

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Blog Posts

How a worldwide shipper acts like a job shop

September 9, 2013 | By Tim Heston

How is Maersk’s new Triple E class containerships—nearly as long as the Empire State Building is tall—like a job shop? Forget the fact that, as reported by BusinessWeek, the behemoth is designed to go only 16 knots to save fuel. Sure, heat-capture devices use heat from the massive ship...

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The industry gets a quarterly physical - TheFabricator.com

Shop Management | Articles | The FABRICATOR

The industry gets a quarterly physical

September 5, 2013 | By Tim Heston

According to the inaugural Forming & Fabricating Job Shop Consumption Report, released in July, business isn’t horrible, but it’s not gangbusters either.

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